We’ve eaten at Curious Manor before, but haven’t returned since it first opened. We were initially put off by it trying too hard to be off-beat and quirky rather than concentrating on great food (the roast we had was a little style over substance). However, waking up one Saturday with a hangover-fuelled need for a cooked breakfast we decided to give the brunch menu a whirl.
Since our last visit they have changed from table service to bar service. Previously, they asked us to switch on a light next to our table to attract the attention of a waiter. I naturally refused to do this as I’m an adult – it was not a system that worked well so glad they changed it! Nowadays, you walk up to the bar to order. The oh-so-cool mismatched furniture doesn’t always lend itself to comfortable dining either, we were sat at a high table eating from low, wing backed armchairs, meaning our plates were irritatingly just below chin height.
I went for the full English breakfast while Emily ordered hangover hash. We were five minutes late for the breakfast menu cut off but we asked ever-so-kindly pretty please if we could rush an order through – they obliged, hurrah! Major brownie points for service! We also washed them down with a couple of Bloody Marys (a partners in dine favourite and hangover essential). The Marys were perfectly spiced for me although it arrived garnished with a slice of cucumber rather than the standard celery stick (which is becoming an alarming and disgusting trend, may I add). We could do an entire post on Bloody Marys alone; from the best (Loch Fyne) to the worst (Hockley Arts Club) we have tried them all and, aside from the offensive cucumber, Curious Manor’s version is up there with the best.
Overall, my breakfast was tasty but not outstanding. The black pudding was slightly overcooked for my taste and the bacon was a tad tough but apart from that it was a fine plate of food. The fried egg was runny and rich and the large meaty sausage was exceptional. Beans, toast and mushrooms made an adequate accompaniment.
Emily’s hangover hash was a baked affair including chorizo, pepper, mozzerella, hot sauce and an egg with hash browns on the side.
Because of the chorizo, the bake was a little oily but it was still a delicious brunch, really hitting the spot. It was smoky and spicy with the perfectly cooked egg in the middle lending a delicious oozy richness along with the mozzerella. The hash browns were outstanding and the perfect side dish to soak up the spicy juices. We liked that this dish was a little unique compared to other brunch menus in the city and it certainly kicked some hangover butt.
So, overall the food was distinctly above average, the Bloody Marys were amazing and the place is well, strange. It was like eating at your Nan’s if your Nan lived in a weird fairground and loved car boot sales. On the next table they were serving sandwiches in mini picnic baskets. We can see what they’re trying to do though so if you think that’s cool you’re the target customer and you’ll love it. If like me it makes you squirm in your seat or roll your eyes then maybe not so much. I also think the quirky setting is a strange choice given the restaurants location in trinity square next to the likes of Harvester and Cornerhouse. Maybe the recent announcement of a new Curious Townhouse in the uber fashionable Lace Market will better suit its style choices -so we’re definitely looking forward to visiting the new venture (which we hope opens soon!)
Overall score: 8/10
Atmosphere and surroundings: 4/10
Emily and Stuart